This week I posed a math challenge to my 4th and 5th graders. I just finished teaching area to the 4th graders and volume to the 5th graders, so I came up with a challenge for them.
I had a tall glass bottle that I filled with M&M’s and I thought, what a great idea to get my 5th graders to estimate how many M&M’s in the jar. I encouraged the students try to figure out how many M&M’s were in the base of the jar and then multiply the height to get their estimates.
The 4th grade was a little more challenging, but I decided to use rice crispy treats covered in chocolate frosting for area. By using the rice crispy treats, I was able to measure one (2 1/2 inch by 1 3/4 inch) and then multiply it by 22 1/2 bars that I used. I cut a few in half to throw my kiddos off – they are a smart bunch. Then I covered it with frosting because they would have been able to count the bars.
I put them out on the table for students to look at in the morning. I had directions and rules for them to follow. After each table came up and looked at the challenge, they grabbed a sheet of paper to take back to their seats and calculate their answers. I told them the winner was the person closest to the answer and who showed accurate math calculations to get the answer. The students worked feverishly to get their guess in the box.
I originally thought, winner would take all. However, I thought better and decided to split the M&M’s and rice crispy treats up evenly for everyone in each grade. The two winners received flexible seating choice for two weeks and two free math games passes. Those rewards cost me nothing and the students were so excited about the prizes.
Just in case you were curious, the jar held 763 M&M’s and the area of the rice crispy treats was 98.4375 square inches.
Next week, I will be discussing a tip teachers can use for teaching math word problems. Have a great week and thanks for reading my blog!